Is there a Philosopher that states about making the world a better place?

Thanks for your question. In many ways, you could say that “making the world a better place” was the explicit or implied aim of a large majority of philosophers throughout history; from Plato to Confucius to Marx to Singer. The big disagreements, of course, come from different ideas of what a “better world” would look like, and how we could get there.

For Plato, the better world is the one that is more in line with the “Ideal of Perfect Goodness”, and where people make rational decisions in accordance with timeless ideals. For Confucius, a better world is one where people act virtuously, according to the traditions of their ancestors. For Marx, the better world is the result of the revolution of the proletariat, while (Peter) Singer believes that we should act in ways that maximize the happiness of all life forms, including humans and animals alike.

From my point of view, the key problem we need to solve as human beings is the tension between living as fully realized individuals, and living in ways that will support best interests of humanity as a whole. If we can solve that problem, I believe we will also be able to resolve problems such as the self-destructive practice of war and the ongoing destruction of our natural environment, both of which are aggravated by our consumerist culture.

Three human acts/choices that are illegal but not immoral

Thanks for your question.

The tricky part about answering this question is that we generally consider there to be a certain morality that automatically attaches to following the law. In general, the argument is that the rule of law is a necessary (or at the least, a beneficial) thing for humanity as a whole, given that we are social creatures and must live with each other. Thus, breaking a law, no matter what it is, carries some sense of immorality, since it weakens that structure we all live within. To be technical, therefore, we should require that our illegal acts be not merely morally neutral, but that they should have enough moral value to outweigh the moral costs of illegality.

The first, and most important answer is civil disobedience –the breaking of a law that is itself immoral and unjust. Paradigmatic examples from the recent past include violations of the laws of segregation in the American South or the laws of apartheid in South Africa. Illegal strikes and protests can also come under this categorization, when they stand in opposition to practices that are cruelly exploitative or harmful.

If we set aside the objection that breaking the law is immoral in itself, there are many practices which are illegal, but are arguably not immoral in of themselves. For example, to drink (any) alcohol at age eighteen is illegal in the United States, yet (unless you believe alcohol drinking to be intrinsically immoral) it is not immoral outside of its illegality. The putative justification for the law is that eighteen-year-olds are not mature enough to drink safely and responsibly –if eighteen-year-olds drank exclusively in moderation, the law would lose its moral justification.

A final category of illegal-but-not-immoral actions is the breaking of laws which are themselves ridiculous or meaningless. For example, the internet tells me that Idaho state law makes it illegal for a man to give his sweetheart a box of candy weighing less than fifty pounds. Laws of this nature are generally ignored by common consent. The argument here is that actually following such laws would be of greater damage to the rule of law than to break them.

What does R.M. Hare mean by ought?

In general, the philosophical distinction between “is” and “ought” is between statements of plain fact, such as “the apple is red”, and statements that endorse a course of action, such as “you should eat that apple”. For R.M. Hare, moral statements –the ones that that belong in the “ought” category –needed to be accompanied by action. In other words if I say “I ought to give money to the poor” then that statement should be accompanied by my actually giving money to the poor.

Hare’s “oughts” are closely related to Immanuel Kant’s “categorical imperative”, which is the idea that a moral rule is a rule that I believe should be true universally, a rule that would make the world a better place if everyone followed it (including myself).

I hope this helps. I am far from being an expert on Hare, but there is a good article on him on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._M._Hare.

whats wrong with you when you hate everyone?

Hating everyone generally means you are not happy with some aspect of yourself, and/or there is something negative in your life or world that you feel powerless to change. This is a common feeling among teenagers (as shown in the book The Catcher in the Rye), but it can also affect people of other ages, particularly during times of transition. It is often accompanied or replaced by a sense of being unreal, or that everything around you is fake. From an existential point of view there are two main ways to attack this problem:

  1. You can try to figure out what it is in your own life or self-image that is bothering you and either come to terms with it or figure out a way to change it. Remember, it is not possible to change everyone else, but it is always possible to change yourself.
  2. You can pick one or more people and try to behave in a loving way towards them, even if you hate them. Emotions often follow actions, so if you behave as if you like someone for long enough, it may become true.

Travel to new and different places or taking up new activities can also be helpful in this situation. It doesn’t solve anything, but it can help you identify what problems you are carrying with you as opposed to what problems are caused by the people around you.

Can you give me the questions that philosophers ask?

That’s actually a very interesting question. It’s what might be called a “Meta”-question, a question about the questioning process. There are actually logic problems where the correct way to proceed is to ask a meta-question.

For instance…

Suppose you are faced with two brothers, one of whom always lies, and one of whom always tells the truth. Further suppose you have only one allowed question, you can only ask one brother, and you don’t know which is which. What is the proper question to ask in order to get a sure answer as to which door leads to a treasure, and which leads to doom?

Answer that meta-question properly, and you’ll get the treasure.
The right answer is to pick either brother and ask “If I asked your brother, which door would he tell me to open?” (another meta-question). Whatever answer you get, do the opposite. The reason is that you’re effectively routing the question through both brothers this way, which ensures you’ll get one truth and one lie, leaving you with a dependably wrong answer.

Unfortunately, in regards to your query, the question is more interesting than the answer. The current trend in philosophy is to ask a very narrow question, generally about some fine shade of meaning, and to explore the answer at great length. In particular, people have a tendency to seize upon some small weakness of a previous philosopher, and exploit it for the purposes of academic publishing.

However, if you want the questions historically considered by philosophers, or conversely, had you asked, what questions do I think philosophers should ask, the answers would be:

What is the meaning of life? What is the nature of existence? What does it mean to be a good person? What is truth? What is beauty? Toward what ends does the universe strive?